Game Boy Advance

Model Name AGB

Nintendo’s first 32-bit system in handheld format. In addition to the change to a landscape format, the system also added L and R buttons. Like the Game Boy Color, the Game Boy Advance was fully backwards compatible and can play all official Game Boy and Game Boy Color games. Some later Game Boy Color games even added Game Boy Advance enhancements in the form of changed palettes and extra features. The Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Color however run on different voltages. To make the system backwards compatible the system actually has much of the hardware of a Game Boy Color, with a switch in the cartridge slot determining which hardware will run when the system is turned on.

Table of Contents:

Last Content Revision: 2021-11-14

Mods

Looking for a backlight mod? Why not check out this guide from /u/Admiral_Butter_Crust on all the different backlight kits for AGB.

Screen Mods

  • TFT Frontlight/backlight (with AGS-101 LCD) – Written guide and detailed video (deprecated)

  • Funnyplaying Replacement IPS LCD kit (Funnyplaying v2, slightly larger than stock, parts from funnyplaying) – Video

  • One Chip Replacement IPS LCD kit (v1, parts from RGRS or aliexpress) – Video

  • “Galaxy Screen” IPS(*) replacement LCD kit (there is a TFT and IPS version, both from taobao) – Video

  • C LCD Backlight kit (from aliexpress and taobao) - Youtube

  • Funnyplaying ‘ITA’ NDSi LCD kit (From FP, same size as stock) - Youtube

Audio Mods

  • Note on “Power Cleaners”. These mods from various vendors often result in more issues than they resolve, especially for beginner modders. Consider cleaning the power switch properly, cleaning the volume wheel with contact cleaner, and replacing the capacitors if deemed faulty. These mods should not be considered unless other repairs have been performed first.
  • Speaker upgrade – Very detailed guide

  • Audio amplifier / loud speaker (parts from Retromodding) – Image Guide or Video Guide / TDNC Review

  • Helder’s “Power Cleaner” flex PCB for improved audio (parts from Helder’s site) - Youtube

Battery and Power Mods

  • USB rechargeable batteries – DIY guide
    • Do this mod at your own caution. Be sure to familiarize yourself with proper Lithium-Ion safety tips and proper handling. Also be aware that when using this mod, you should never let your console run flat as it will take the battery down well past normal safe limits.
  • Rechargeable Battery (listed vendors ship NA only, parts: Retromodding kitImage Guide

  • Internal NiMh battery charger – Youtube

  • LED Battery Gauge (for LiPo modded consoles) – Youtube

Other Mods

Problems

Don’t forget that the common problems section also has more info, such as failure to power on or speaker issues.

Cannot load games after AGS-101 screen install (or other backlight kit)

  • What is it? The Game Boy will freeze upon booting and will refuse to load any games after installing a backlit LCD (AGS-101). This is caused by the metal shielding on the back of the LCD making contact with the pins on the cartridge connector on the front of the motherboard.
  • How do I fix it? Simply add some insulating material between the LCD and the motherboard itself. A small piece of electrical tape is usually enough to physically separate the components.

Power LED is always RED

Power LED is always red, even on new batteries or LED will flicker / will restart randomly or if jolted.

  • What is it? Both of these issues are usually caused by the same problem. The power switch on the console tends to accumulate dirt and gunk and will make poor contact. This will result in your Game Boy getting worse battery life and it will significantly decrease the reliability.
  • How do I fix it? You’ll need to clean or replace the power switch. Please see the “Common Problems” section for more info.

Original screen or AGS-101 LCD colors are washed out

  • What is it? OEM Game Boy screens (all of them, including the Micro) must be calibrated to the console by adjusting the trimpot on the motherboard.
  • How do I fix it? Remove the rear cover or the sticker directly adjacent the battery cover and right next to the cart slot, you should see a small trimpot that looks like a large cross head screw. Adjust that slowly and check to see if the image on screen improves. The trimpot is very delicate and highly succeptible to damage so extreme care must be taken. GO SLOW. If you have access to a flash cart, running the “AGS AGING” ROM (search on TCRF) will make things significantly easier. Nintendo has an internal test tool that can be loaded and one of the images displayed by the tool will cause the LCD to flicker if it is not calibrated. Simply display this image on screen and adjust the trim pot until the image stops flickering. Note that this does NOT apply to any IPS kits that include their own LCD power regulators. This only applies to OEM screens and mods that use OEM screens.